What is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?
BPH (also referred to as benign prostatic hypertrophy) is a condition in which the prostate gland becomes very enlarged and may cause problems associated with urination. BPH can raise PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels two to three times higher than the normal level. An increased PSA level does not indicate cancer, but the higher the PSA level, the higher the chance of having cancer.
Some of the signs of BPH and prostate cancer are the same; however, having BPH does not seem to increase the chances of developing prostate cancer. A man who has BPH may also have undetected prostate cancer at the same time or may develop prostate cancer in the future. Therefore, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society recommend that all men over 50 consult their physicians about having a digital rectal and PSA examination once a year to screen for prostate cancer.
What are symptoms of BPH?
The following are the most common symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- leaking or dribbling of urine
- more frequent urination, especially at night
- urgency to urinate
- urine retention – inability to urinate.
- a hesitant, interrupted, weak stream of urine
The symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Treatment for BPH:
Specific treatment for BPH will be determined by your physician based on:
- your age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the disease
- your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the diseas
- your opinion or preference
Eventually, BPH symptoms usually require some kind of treatment. When the gland is just mildly enlarged, treatment may not be needed, since research has shown that some of the symptoms of BPH clear up without treatment in some mild cases. This determination can only be made by your physician after careful evaluation of your individual condition. Regular checkups are important, however, to watch for developing problems.